DALLAS— Tony Robbins, the world’s top life and business strategist who has mentored everyone from Bill Clinton to Princess Diana to Oprah and Hugh Jackman, opens up to SUCCESS magazine as he never has before about his dark childhood, breakthrough methods of helping people change, and his rage at those who caused the 2008 recession—fury that pushed him to write his first book in 20 years, Money: Master the Game, 7 Simple Steps to Financial Freedom. The tome instantly shot to the top of the New York Times best-seller list.
When SUCCESS reporter Marie Speed arrives at Robbins’ home in Manalapan, Florida, she notes that the house is “massive, the furniture oversized… the living room seems to pan across a hemisphere of deep blue ocean. It’s a world perfectly scaled to the 6-foot- 7-inch motivational man who routinely advises some of the most powerful people on the planet.”
Robbins vividly recalls his childhood with an “incredibly violent” alcoholic mother who married four times. In the course of the intimate interview, in which no subject was off the table, Robbins tells how, when he was just a boy, he was shopping, cooking, feeding and clothing his brother and sister. It was his love for reading that offered “an escape to get out.”
“I started reading As a Man Thinketh and Viktor Frankl’s Man’s Search for Meaning. I get emotional thinking about it today, all these years later,” Robbins said, his eyes welling up. “It made me believe that anything can be changed and made better.”
When he was a senior in high school, his mother chased him out of the house with a knife on Christmas Eve. Robbins never went back. He got a job as a janitor, and the rest is history: Tony became the protégé of personal development legend Jim Rohn, wrote two huge best-sellers (Unlimited Power and Awaken the Giant Within), and became not just the face of the $10 billion self-improvement industry but also “the CEO Whisperer” (in Fortune’s words), helping his billionaire clients wrack up record results—and find lives of meaning to boot. As the CEO of Salesforce.com Marc Benioff recently said about Robbins, “Very few people have had such a huge impact on me—my ability to be successful, my ability to give back.”
When it comes to giving back, though, it’s hard to match Robbins. All the proceeds from his new book—the advance and all profits—are going to Feeding America, the nation’s largest hunger-relief organization. Robbins started The 100 Million Meal Challenge to feed families in need, and has donated 50 million meals himself to kick it off. Robbins says he will never forget “being fed Thanksgiving dinner when my family was too poor to buy food.”
With Money: Master the Game, Robbins aims to give “regular people” a roadmap on their journey to financial freedom. Leveraging his relationships with the financial power elite—everyone from Warren Buffett to Charles Schwab, Carl Icahn and T. Boone Pickens—he gives the secrets of the 1 percent to the rest of us. SUCCESS magazine, since its inception over 100 years ago, has a mission to be the most trusted resource for personal brand development. Rarely have the values of a magazine and its cover subject been so perfectly aligned.
The January 2015 issue of SUCCESS magazine hits newsstands Tuesday, December 9, 2014.